When Arsenal were thrashed at home 3-1 by Aston Villa, the alarm bells were ringing at the Emirates and the calls for Wenger's head were heard loud and clear, popularised with the hashtag #WengerOut.
In fact, the last time Arsenal were involved in the title race, it involved two common denominators that were missing from last season's struggle for the top four: a world class player in Cesc Fabregas and an aggressive midfielder in Alex Song. Therefore, with Tottenham spending over £100 million and Liverpool steadily improving, it was obvious to Arsenal fans they needed.
By deadline day in August, Arsenal had in one fell swoop accomplished what Arsenal fans had been begging for several years: an accomplished world class player in Mesut Ozil and an aggressive defensive midfielder in Mathieu Flamini.
With these two players in tow, expectations had changed drastically from fans resigned to finishing outside the Champions League places for the first time under Arsene Wenger, to a club cautiously optimistic about their chances during season.
An impressive run which saw the likes of a resurgent Liverpool, a free spending Tottenham, last season's Champions League finalists Dortmund and a strong Napoli side swept aside reinforced the newfound belief found at Arsenal.
Another unbeaten run stretching from a 0-0 draw against Chelsea in December, to a 2-0 victory against Crystal Palace saw the Gunners first heading into February. By then expectations had hit fever point, it was first or nothing.
Lo and behold, an anarchic 5-1 defeat to fellow Premier League hopefuls Liverpool kickstarted their season and put a dent in Arsenal's. Arsenal would go on a choppy run of form that saw them only win twice in nine Premier League games. This run of form was very reminiscent to that of the 2007/08, 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons when Arsenal (as well as Fabregas and Song) were leading only to throw it away around February.
In the three previous seasons listed, immediately Arsenal were out of the title race, they folded in every other competition. However, unlike those years, the strength of the clubs outside the top 4 is stronger (or the top 4 are worse, take your pick) and Everton would not let Arsenal relax until the penultimate game. Furthermore, it would have been very easy for Arsenal to disregard the FA Cup to focus on securing Champions League football. However, they stuck to their guns, coming back from 1-0 down against Wigan in the semi's and 2-0 down against Hull in the final to win the Cup.
In doing this they have shown far more mettle than the Arsenal sides spanning from 2007 to 2011. What is even more encouraging is this current crop of Arsenal players seem far more loyal to the cause. Whilst Fabregas claimed to love Arsenal, we all knew Arsenal was the loved but ultimately the side-piece in the love triangle until the one true love in Barcelona came calling. Robin van Persie had a similar romance with Arsenal but the little boy in him grew impatient of Arsenal. Meanwhile, Adebayor, Arshavin, Diarra, Gallas, Hleb and Samir Nasri all had streaks of golddiggers written all over them.
Aside from Bendtner who is waiting on call from Barcelona and Real; Sagna who seems to angling on a move to either money laden PSG or Man City, as well as Ozil who seems to be on the rebound from Real Madrid and does not seem to fit in at Arsenal, no one else at Arsenal can be described in this manner. This means that for once Wenger will be able to focus on who is coming in, instead of who is going out.
With the increased TV deal and the sponsorship from Puma kicking in, things are looking up for Arsenal.
Season's grade: B